Citizens of Heaven Walking on Earth
Wednesday, September 7, 2022, 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Year CII
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today: 1Corinthians 7:25-31; Luke 6:20-26
The Responsorial (Psalm 45) calls us to “listen up”: “Listen to me, daughter; see and bend your ear.”
1Corinthians 7:25-31 is advice to those living in the “end time” between Jesus’ Resurrection and the Parousia. At Baptism Christians rose with Christ to live as his risen body on earth. While still in time, we share in God’s eternal life. We are “aliens and exiles” in this world. Our true “citizenship is in heaven.”
It is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.
Our lives are a waiting. We live in expectation of “our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of… our Savior, Jesus Christ.” He will return in triumph to complete God’s “plan for the fullness of time,” which is to “gather up all things in him” to “form that perfect man, who is Christ come to full stature.”
A mystery. But one we are living and called to live right now. We keep our individual identity, but already “we, who are many, are one body in Christ.” Physical differences still exist, but to focus on them is myopic: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Jesus even speaks as if he were canceling out marriage:
Those who belong to this age marry … but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection… neither marry nor are given in marriage…. because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.
Jesus doesn’t abolish marriage; but he says we should see our marriages on earth in the light of what they already are and will be in heaven.
Christians are already living in the “last days”… Baptism has incorporated the believer into the Risen Lord. By faith and hope the Christians are already in the future. They pass their lives in this world with their eyes fixed on heaven, awaiting patiently the glorious revelation of the Lord at the Parousia….
That is the focus we must maintain to be faithful “stewards of Christ’s kingship.” We are always about our master’s business, awaiting, anticipating and preparing for things as they will be after his return.
The “beatitudes” proclaimed in Luke 6:20-26 could rightly be read as promises paid off in heaven. But they are also realized on earth. What Jesus came to give is already ours in the measure we live by the divine life we received at Baptism. God’s life is God’s life, regardless. And it is “life to the full.” Still, as stewards of his kingship, we strive to create an environment on earth that helps people grow into it.
Initiative: Be a faithful steward. Act in the present in the light of the future
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry